Just getting started

Hello I am new here, although, I have read through almost every post on the forum. I would like to build a gasifier to use as a boiler for my house then after I gain a bit of experiance and knowlege of the process would like to build one to run my Ranger. My question is when building a gasser what are the main things that absolutly need to be done, and what are the things that absoutly should not be done in the building of my first gasser.

 Thanks, Matt

The first thing I would suggest is to deside on the fuel you can relie on. In my location, the only thing I can see is tumbleweeds
What do you have avalable?

Well there is plenty of wood available of many different varietys, but living in the middle of Iowa there is a basically unlimited supply of corn stover. If that could be made to work it would be ideal, but like I said there is plenty of wood. What are all of the things that could be used to make gas?

Almost anything that you look at can be gasified.Once you get the rocks out. The only problem is feeding it to your converter.
If you get charcoal hot enough, then you can pass vapors through that carbon and create a thermite action ,
Ripping apart the hydrocarbons into syngas. The hotter the better. Limited only by the melting temperature of your steel.
If you run your gasifier too slow you will have tar to deal with; Running it too fast and you melt dowm your whole trailer.
I like Matt Ryder’s post about running two gassers to power one engine.
That way you are not running a big gasifier in “taring” conditions.

Is there anyone that has used corn stover with any success? If so is there anything different you had to do the run on that instead of wood?

Hi Matthew, welcome to the site. Corn and agricultural waste can be used, but they have high ash content, and can form clinkers pretty easily. Corn in particular is high in silicate, which melts into glassy slag-rocks. This can plug up your grate. Used for a heating application it should be OK, there are gasifiers that are specifically designed for using ag waste, check out the papers in the PDF articles section from the India Institute, and others on gasifying bagasse, rice husks, etc.

I know all about the clinkers that corn makes. My dad has been heating his house with corn for about 10 years now and I have a small corn burner i my garage. I does make a very hard clinker.

The only problem you shough have with clinkers is to grind them up and push them throulgh your shaker grate.
Keeping your gate clean is the seacret to woodgas
You need a constant air velosity to make good gas. You need a removal system to get rid of the ash
AS far as feeding the corn trash to the gasifier; I suggest pellitizing
Maybe a couple extra steps, but it gives you stable, easy to regulate fuel

Did you make your own pellet mill as well, or is it one that you bought. If you made your own I would love to see some info cause I could sure use one for fueling my corn burner.

Hi MatthewR.
On your questions:
What are the things that absolutely need to be done?
What are the things that must not be done?
Most important: Separate out all work for boiler/space heating from all work intended to make an internal combustion engine motor fuel.
Never mix or think that experience in one will make the other easier. It does not. Makes it harder.
Only cross-over is in learning just how much work it takes to gather and process needed tons/cubic meters/units/cords of “bio-mass” equivalent to replace a gallon of nice easy to use refined dino fuel.

The needs of the end result for heat making gasification versus motor fuel gasification are too different.

I am a very, very good woodstover. I can burn for heat, and have burnt for heat almost anything bio-mass burnable in my area in different 70% efficient gasification/combustion heaters. Warming right now to high ash, high silica, thick fir and thin stringy cedar bark fuel as I write this. Real PITA babysitting stuff to do this system cleanly.
Want to NOT slag melt high percent low melting ash AG wastes? Oversize your fire box. Use a high thermal mass hearth made of loose fit internal thermal brick lining in an airtight thick steel plate or cast iron shell. Have at least 3-4 separately area controllable ways to add combustion air into different areas as needed. Have a minimum 13 foot / 4 meter tall well drafting chimney. Fuel in batches. Over air initially to get your crap fuels burning hot and clean quickly. Once up to fully involved into open combustion and now over-temperature Cut back the air. And then let combustion and temperatures more safely coast down allowing it to self-consume 80-90% of the fuel before refueling. You are then depending on the hot hearth thermal mass (NOT hot fuel mass like with good wood!) to carry though and heat ignite the next refueling cycle. Trick is to reduce your AVERAGE combustion temperatures and turbulence times. Let the stove shad off heat. Let the stove/furnace retained thermal mass do the work - not active continuous combustion as you would with good wood fuel.

Now for motor fuel gasification making about 80% of what I’ve learned, know and practice is 180 degrees wrong. Set me back about 2 years learning this and then learning the right motor fuel gas making techniques and reflexes.
You need LOW thermal mass constructing.
Relative higher continous core temperatures.
And depending on the system type chosen to follow, relatively higher internal turbulence.
You need to retain/recycle all possible heats back into the process.
You MUST air starve this whole process to make a usable motor fuel gas mix.
A well designed, fueled and operated motor fuel gasifier system will be hand touchable when in operation. You must NOT not be farming off any heat. Not intentionally making extra not consumed extra char. Char IS a motor fuel gasifiers most important internal fuel. And Uncrushed, still porous grain wood structure makes the best motor fuel gasifier char. Has the Best, quickest gasses exchange possible. Why it is the premium blacksmithing fuel. Why it is used as a filtering/absorber material. Why woodcharcoal is a key blackpowder component. Wood char - not non-porous fossil coal.
You you must NEVER run a motor fuel gasifier out of wood fuel. Never let the core temperatures drop. Never let it stop replenishing the critical reduction char section.

Easy answer: ONLY use the best of clean, energy dense, low ash woods you can get for the vehicles and mobile applications. Far more practical to carry 300 miles worth of woodfuel on board versus 3-4 timed that volume in a less dense much harder to use AG waste.

Burn all the other bio-mass fuels for far easier direct stationary heat applications.

See? Different knowing for different needs.

Steve Unruh

I only live half a mile from where I work so I don’t use very much gas and it would take me more time to get the thing lit and running than it would take me to get to work, so I defiantly am more interested in trying to use gasification to heat my house and water. I have a basic idea of how gasification works, but how do I use it. Is it possibly to pipe the gas into the house and use it to fuel my natural gas furnace and water heater or just heat water and pump it into the house and use a heat ex changer to utilize the heat. I know this site is called DRIVEongas, but you guys seemed to have a wealth of knowledge about this. Thanks for the info

Hi Matthew,

For plain heating purposes, a high efficiency stove will do as well or better than a gasifier. You can get outdoor furnaces that heat water, indoor stoves with water jackets, etc. No reason for the fuss and trouble of a gasifier if all you need is heat.

If you need to move the energy to a different place before burning, then gasification makes more sense. But again, consider if you really need to power a separate gas water heater/furnace or if you could simply heat water/air with a regular stove and water coil.

I was initially researching wood stove boilers when I found some info on gassification. What peaked my intrest was all the different sources saying how efficient it is. I am always looking for ways to cut costs. So I was thinking in the back of my mind that is a could find a large generator at a reasonable cost I would like to use it to power my house. Is it even feasible to run one all the time on a generator. I know it take alot of sweat to make it work, but it sure would be nice to be able to give the finger to the power company.

Heres an extreme example of clinker problems grass clipping pellets

Matthew - I just went back to wood heat after being on propane for a few years. Main reason why I stopped was because of crappy health and not being able to load the stove.

The gas made from a heating gasifier is not as Clean as a vehicle gasser. But if you burn it fairly quickly you will not be worried about cooling/cleaning the gas.

I am currently turning a Daka wood stove ($800 new @ Menards), purchased from net for $200, into a 60 gallon “boiler”. Vented not true boiler. I am adding another 110 gallon water tank I have for more storage. I buried water lines to the shop and house and purchased two 229000 btu radiators for $200 each. I am also building a side arm to heat my domestic hot water.

After the “boiler” is finished I will attempt to turn it into a gasifier. It seems to be built well enough and easy to do. After the full conversion I plan on piping the gas to flash boiler I have, to heat more water. After the flash boiler I will attempt to make charcoal in another device before it fully exhausts to the outside.

In the future it would be nice to have enough steam from the flash boiler to run a steam engine for kicks or maybe electricity.

I will post a project thread later this week after I take some pics and make some more progress on it.

This is the stove I am converting. I have seen it as low as $700


The reason I am going this route is because I need heat and these are parts that I already have on hand. If I had the cash to build a full unit I would build a WK to heat and power my house. In the future I will do this…but it is cold already.

hi wayne
If you want a gasifier for heating water they are not that hard to build not near as fussy as an engine gasser for you burn the gas instantly the trouble with regular outside boilers is a lot of states won’t let you use them
My boiler is not surounded by water i pass the gas flame exhaust thru a 14 tube heat exchanger
I may build one someday but for now i have plenty of wood that needs burnt
i have never check the efiechancey (sorry about the spelling ) but it can put out 350,000 btu’s or so judging by the amount of water it will boil/ time
I will draw a diagram and post it this week if i can
You can build it in an evening or two.
good luck

Hey guys for those interested in wood fired gasification boiler systems effectively using gasification techniques for cleanness of burn and 90% plus efficiency search up the GARN site and read their system info, look at the pictures and watch their videos. Simple is elegant.
Learn and reverse engineer their hundreds of thousands of hours of operating experience and years evolving.

I’m with ChrisKY and others. I’ll stick with “merely” 72% in room efficient bulk wood heaters. Very quiet. Very peaceful. NO electricity or complexity needed. Some years have three of these going simultaneously. I like to watch and have direct control of the system. Like the mix of strong direct radiant, conduction and convection heats. Coming in always wet and cold from the outdoors here 8 months out of the year here in the rainforest; me, the cats and dogs are all in agreement on this!

Steve U. I would love to have a classic wood burner in the house but if I installed one my insurance company would drop me live a lead balloon. I had a terrible fight with them when I put the corn burner in the garage. First they said they would not insure me at all unless I removed it. I had to fire it up and show them how cool the chimney was and the outside shell of the whole thing. After showing them this they reluctantly agreed to let it slide. That was just in an unattached garage, and I have no existing chimney in the house so it would be tricky for me to install one anyway. I plan to install whetever I decide on outside and pipe the heat in. If it is outside away from the buildings I don’t think the insurance company can say much about it.

ah yes the keeper of the fire will always be a dogs best friend LOL
2 years after putting in the boiler system my wife and i put in a fireplace so we could sit by the fire

Thomas - as you can tell by my pic, I can make a good flare - I have a coil tube boiler that has 100 feet of 1" sch 80 pipe in it that I have not been using. I will run my flare into it.

Steve - Thanks for the GARN link, another site I was unaware of. I am building the boiler to run as a standard wood stove; while having the added ability to close off my regular smoke stack and starting my blower to run in gasser mode. One of the main reasons for this is because I have less than 2 cords of wood that need to last me all winter, which I seriously know I will be freezing my tail off before Spring. I am hoping by gassing it I can make the wood go a bit longer.

My neighbor installed an outdoor wood boiler a few months ago. When it shuts down he is able to go out and light the gasses coming out of the smoke stack. It seems to be wasted energy too me. I am hoping to not waste much of what I have available.

On a side note I just finished cutting up my plate to weld the tank around the stove.